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USS Chipola (AO 63)

- decommissioned -

no coat of arms

USS CHIPOLA was one of the CIMARRON - class oilers and the first ship in the Navy named after the river in Florida. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on August 14, 1973, the CHIPOLA was sold for scrapping on July 15, 1974.

General Characteristics:Keel laid: 1944
Launched: October 21, 1944
Commissioned: November 30, 1944
Decommissioned: August 1, 1955
Recommissioned: December 26, 1956
Decommissioned: November 7, 1956
Recommissioned: December 17, 1960
Decommissioned: August 14, 1973
Builder: Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point, Md.
Propulsion system: four boilers
Propellers: two
Length: 553 feet (168.6 meters)
Beam: 75.1 feet (22.9 meters)
Draft: 31.5 feet (9.6 meters)
Displacement: approx. 25,500 tons
Speed: 18 knots
Capacity: approx. 18,300 tons of fuel
Aircraft: none
Armament: four 5-inch/38 caliber guns, four 40mm guns, four 20mm guns
Crew: approx. 300

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS CHIPOLA. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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CHIPOLA was launched 21 October 1944 by Bethlehem Steel Corp., Sparrows Point, Md.; sponsored by Mrs. P. C. Chubb; and commissioned 30 November 1944, Commander E. G. Genthner, USNR, in command.

CHIPOLA arrived at Eniwetok from the east coast and the Netherlands West Indies 31 February 1945. She fueled ships in the harbor, and sailed 9 February to operate at sea, serving the ships of the fast carrier task forces raiding Tokyo in preparation for the invasion of Iwo Jima, and then the assault ships which carried out the landings on 19 February. Four days later, CHIPOLA arrived at Ulithi, out of which she sailed between 23 March and 26 August, supporting the carrier task forces in the raids which preceded the Okinawa assault, and in their continuing operations during the conquest of the island. From July, she provided the oil which enabled the carriers and their screening ships to carry out a constant series of air attacks and bombardments on the Japanese home islands.

The oiler sailed from Ulithi 8 September 1945 to serve as station tanker at Tokyo Bay and other Far Eastern ports. Between 20 February 1946 and 18 March, she sailed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf to load oil, returning to station tanker duty at Sasebo. After spending the summer on the west coast for repairs, she returned to duty in the western Pacific from September 1946 to May 1947, making three voyages to Bahrain during that time.

Returning to the west coast for repairs, CHIPOLA put to sea again 13 June 1947, and sailed west to Bahrain and the Suez Canal, making passage to Norfolk where she arrived 21 August. Almost constantly at sea on the important never-ending duty of keeping the fleet supplied with petroleum products, she voyaged from Norfolk to Bahrain, then sailed to make two voyages between Aruba and the Canal Zone. She sailed from Cristobal for Bahrain, continuing through the Far East to San Diego, where she was overhauled.

In the second half of 1948, CHIPOLA served ships operating in the Far East once more, making two voyages from Japan to the Persian Gulf oil ports. She returned to west coast operations until 2 September 1949, when she sailed for the Panama Canal and brief duty in the Mediterranean. CHIPOLA sailed from Naples for Norfolk, and between November and July 1950, made three voyages transporting oil from the east to the west coast.

The oiler operated on the east coast and in the Caribbean until October 1950, when she sailed by way of Bahrain for Sasebo. She proceeded from Sasebo to Bahrain in December, and on the last day of the year sailed for San Francisco and west coast duty until May 1951. Then she returned to the east coast, and carried oil from the Caribbean to Norfolk, as well as twice serving in the Mediterranean, until 3 May 1955 when she was placed in commission in reserve at Philadelphia. She was decommissioned 1 August 1955.

CHIPOLA was recommissioned 29 December 1956 for service with the Military Sea Transportation Service until once more placed out of commission in reserve 7 November 1957 at Beaumont, Tx. Preparations for her reactivation commenced in mid-August 1960 and she was recommissioned 17 December 1960. CHIPOLA served with the Pacific Fleet for another almost 13 years until decommissioned a last time at Pearl Harbor on 14 August 1973.

CHIPOLA received three battle stars for World War II service and thirteen campaign stars during the Vietnam War.

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